Good morning, Friends!!
It was wonderful to see so many of you at our convention over the weekend!! The work of the Church is important – and amazingly doable if we work together! That being said, let’s see what resolution I’ll address this morning…
We are not finished with our
resolution on environmental justice but I’d like to put that on hold for a week and comment on one of the resolutions passed at our convention on Saturday. Covenant 5 proposed Resolution 3 which was passed handily after some brief discussion. Rather than re-state the resolution, I am going to borrow the words from Covenant 5’s well-stated webpage:
After every General Convention of the Episcopal Church, resolutions passed at that gathering are referred to dioceses, and in turn to ministries and congregations for prayerful study and appropriate action at the diocesan/diocesan committee/congregational level. This is a way to share with Episcopalians the work done at General Convention and allow for a local response to the issues addressed.
Our Baptismal Covenant states that we will seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbors as ourselves, and that we will strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being. We can live up to our Baptismal Covenant by beginning locally.
This resolution is an attempt to allow for and encourage local examination and action on issues deemed to be important to the tri-annual gathering of Episcopal Church leaders. The RUACH initiative of the Diocese of Michigan has stressed that, as a diocese, “we recognize that we all share in each other’s trials and triumphs and that collectively we can do more than we could ever hope to imagine.” In the spirit of connectivity, it is hoped that we can “discover ways to re-imagine and reconnect with each other as individuals, as congregations, as community and as a diocese.”
Social justice issues were identified as one of the focuses of the RUACH (RSVP) project, and one of the Five Marks of Mission, developed by the Anglican Consultative Council states that the mission of Christ is “to seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation”. It is our hope that Resolution #3 can be taken to individual congregations in order to allow them to choose at least one of the General Convention resolutions, all of which encourage diocesan and congregational study and action, inform parishioners of the issues involved, and work together with other congregations if possible to speak to a social justice issue of the congregation’s choice, and in turn to strive for justice and peace in line with the fifth Baptismal Covenant.
Resolution #3 as written also allows for follow-up with congregations participating in the action plan aspect of the resolution. It would be our hope that congregations could get recognition for the work they have done to study and implement the General Convention resolutions they have chosen. At Diocesan Convention last weekend, the resolution as passed was amended to ask that “each congregation communicate with Covenant 5 through the Covenant 5 website (www.covenant5.org), on or before May 1, 2014 its choice(s) of (a) General Convention resolution(s) it will pursue, or if a congregation determines not to choose a resolution, to communicate to Covenant 5 that decision on or before said date.” Covenant 5 will then communicate to Diocesan Council the work that the congregations have accomplished and reported to the Covenant 5 website on or before June 30, 2014.
Some suggestions for ways a congregation can work on resolutions:
- Identify people in a congregation who are called to work for peace and justice, and will be willing to share news of their work with other members of the congregation.
- Review the resolutions and identify which one/s on which members of the congregation are already working or feel called to work.
- Join the EPPN, the Episcopal Church Public Policy Network, http://episcopal.grassroots.com/
- Study what needs to be done and whether you can join with others already taking action. Work with other congregations in your Deanery or in the Diocese. Research what other dioceses are doing and use their resources.
- Write letters and emails to elected officials and to the news media.
- Develop bulletin inserts about the issues.
- Pray for the accomplishment of the work that the Church has undertaken to do.
- Raise and donate funds to organizations that are working to accomplish the needed work.
- Plan a multi-generational format to involve all ages including youth and young adults.
The wording of the suggested resolutions are all on the Covenant 5 webpage (www.covenant5.org). You will find quite a grocery list of possibilities for action that I’m sure there will be something there for every congregation!! I know that I am excited to see what we all can accomplish when we set out to change the world to bring justice and dignity to all!! Remember…
Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
no hands but yours,
no feet but yours,
Yours are the eyes through which to look out
Christ’s compassion to the world
Yours are the feet with which he is to go about
Yours are the hands with which he is to bless men now.
― Teresa of Ávila
As you work in your congregations, let us know how you are doing and if we can offer any help along the way.
Thank you, Covenant 5!!
~Judith Schellhammer, chair, Resolution review Committee, Diocesan Council